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Reapplicant HELP!

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Hello everyone!

This is my firs time applying but unfortunately I have not been accepted this cycle. I just wanted to get opinions on how I can improve my application, so here are my stats:

cGPA: 3.42

sGPA: 3.2

Post-Bac GPA: 4.0

Currently taking Organic Chem II w/ lab

HCE: 2800 and counting (ER scribe)

Shadowing: 171 w/ all PAs in 5 different specialities (working on getting more)

Volunteer hours: 380 (going to try to get more)

GRE: Verbal -149/Quant-147/Writing-4.0 (I know, not good)

LORs: 3 PAs (2 of who I work with and 1 that I shadowed), 1 MD that I work with, and my regional manager

This cycle I have received 6 interview invites, wait-listed at 3 of them, rejected from 2, waiting on a response from the last school. 

Please leave any advice, thank you!


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The fact that you got 6 invites tells me your stats may not be the problem. Perhaps you could brush up on your interview skills.

In addition, like the previous advice, look for some hands-on healthcare experience. No doubt you can learn a lot being a scribe, but it's all passive learning. Many schools look for experience with patients in which you have to handle a variety of situations and think on your feet while considering the patient the whole time.

Good luck!

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If you need to reapply definitely improve what you can, but especially that GRE.  Even though your stats landed you a good amount of interviews, it would be good to show some improvement prepping for the next cycle.

Also, as stated before, sounds like the interviews are where you're falling short.

Make sure to be conscience of what you have been doing at these interviews. On your phone? Your outfit? What you said and how you said it? Were you friendly? Did you rush into your responses? No questions at the end of the interview?

I'd recommend reading the interview tips thread on this forum that is about 26 pages long. PA interview prep books, bulleted answers for common question (not verbatim), relax, before answering breathe and gather your thoughts.

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Thank you all very much!! I know my GRE scores are bad and I'm going to try to aim higher but if I can't, do you think I'll be okay? Since i'm increasing my volunteer, HCE, and shadowing hours all while taking Orgo II. I'm definitely trying to find some hands on experience before the cycle opens.

I didn't do too well in my interviews because of nerves and I tend to stumble over my words a lot. I've practiced (using quizlet) but still stumble. 

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A couple of things to think about. As has been said clearly your application is competitive at the schools you are applying to as you got interviews, that being said there are points of improvement to be made.

1) Your GPA is about average the science is a little on the lower end, think about taking a class or two to try and boost this even if it is only 0.01 of a grade point. This shows that you have been trying to improve your application.

2) The GRE score is glaringly obvious, you need to shoot for 300 minimum and really I mean 50th percentile in each category. This will also show that you are working on things, plus you are likely only one or two questions per section off a 300 score. I really like Princeton reviews online prep course.

3) Your HCE is a good about but as has been mentioned scribe hours are sometimes not reviewed as valuable as something that is actually hands on patient care. Try get a job as an EMT or MA or something along those lines. An EMT course is typically a semester long and is worth about 10 credit hours, so if you can get an A it will bump your GPA.

4) I wouldn't waste your time on the shadowing and volunteering, you have plenty of both of those sections.

Remember as a re-applicant it is important to show some change or improvement. Many schools will have your application from last year to review as well, so you don't want to look stagnant. Think about rewriting your personal statement, the class you are taking is great because you will likely show improvement there.

With the interviews you need to set up some legit mock interviews for yourself. Find some folks at work, maybe some of the MD's and see if they will do a panel and a one on one interview with you. Try to pick people that intimidate you or that you are not totally comfortable around, this will help simulate the interview environment that you will have on the day. Also try to have the mindset that you are interviewing the school as much as they are interviewing you, you want to know if it is the right place for you. I think this really helped me feel more relaxed on the day.

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3 hours ago, PA8394 said:

Thank you for your response! All of your responses are very helpful! :) I will be taking the GREs again now and hopefully that will make me more competitive.

What do you guys think about taking notes during the interview? is that frowned upon or a good thing?


I wouldn't take notes, just seems to disconnect you with the interviewers. What questions did you struggle with? Make sure you know why you want to go to a particular school and why you want to be a PA

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I wouldn't take notes during interviews either. And in reality you wouldn't have time to take notes during interview. If you are well prepared you can answer most questions with ease. Some interviewers can and sometimes do ask those left field questions and those they want to see how you approach the answer rather than what you answer. 

The top two questions you absolutely must have the answer ingrained in your brain are: Why PA? Why this school? I used How to Ace PA interview book to prepare for top common questions asked in an interview. It was great and helped me a lot. 

The key thing with interview is being well prepared and confidence even if you have to fake it. Research everything you can on schools you will be interviewing at. Pick out the aspects those school are about and gear your answers that will let them know that you are the perfect fit for their program. That's what I did and it made a difference. The schools I prepared for vs the school I didn't during interview. 

Good luck. 

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I am in the same boat as you are, I have received a lot of interviews but rejected after each interview. I realized that I have to improve my interview skills... I am also planning on taking more classes this semester to increase my gpa and show them that I did something to improve my application. If you had 6 interviews I think you should work on your interview skills... Good luck! You are not alone!

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What UGoLong said, only more emphatic:

Everything else in your application is at least adequate.  Your poor interviewing skills are why you are not admitted to any PA school this cycle.

Some of the advice you got above, while positive, ignores or downplays this key fact: it's the interview.

Do not do a single thing to raise your GPA or retake the GRE until you have the interview NAILED.  By all means, keep accumulating HCE, because HCE is the source from which you get vignettes to use in response to behavioral interview questions.  But you need to mock interview your heart out, videotape yourself answering questions, work with people you've never met before who can role play mean interviewers.

Oh, and don't shadow another hour.  That's wasting time.

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@PA-SGuy Sorry I wasn't clear, I mean when it's my chance to ask questions, would be okay to write down their responses to my questions?

@rev ronin @UGoLong So I shouldn't worry about my application so much (including GREs) and focus on my interview skills? I find my self getting overly nervous before each interview. I have the book Mr. Rodican made as well the PA Coach videos. I've also listed out my answers.


Thank you for the awesome feedback!! :)

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Your application SHOULD show progress from year to year.
But the interview cost you a seat.
Do keep improving your profile, but don't lose sight of what the problem is.
Well said, Rev. All of us should be making progress as time goes on but your number one objective needs to be to improve your interview performance so you get offers.

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You mentioned you get overly nervous before interview. This is what needs to be improved on. 

Everyone gets nervous during the interviews but how we channel that nervousness is the key. For me, I found that if I was well prepared I was less nervous. 

Also, someone told me the symptoms we feel during state of nervousness and excitement are pretty close. So, I try to divert that nervousness and try to trick myself into thinking its excitement. And that's what you should focus on. Be excited that the program chose you to get interviewed. They already like you. 

Again, the same advice given many times. Practice, practice, and practice some more. 

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Guest blee100

@PA8394 if you go to the school you graduated from they possibly have a graduate/career development office. My school does mock interviews and you make an appointment and they set it up like a real interview and ask you questions also they look at your personal statements. If you went to a university they should have a office like this. I believe if you graduated already there may be an additional cost. Good luck on increasing your interview skills as well as GRE!

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As stated above, I think the problem is coming down to your interviews. I had tough time with interviews this cycle also. I found myself to be nervous and constantly jumping to answer their questions immediately. In the future, try to slow yourself down. It'll make the interview more conversational and you will likely be remembered/scored better. I ended up basically counting to 3 in my head before answering a question so I forced myself to slow down. 

Take time to think before answering a question. It may end up seeming like a while for you, but in reality it's just a few seconds (and completely normal) to your interviewer. Practice with your friends, parents, significant others, recording yourself, etc. They will help you pinpoint any other issues. Even if it is uncomfortable, you'll get used to talking about yourself in front of others. 

Practice practice practice! I was able to finally get accepted to a school after my very last interview. It's doable!

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